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whats the best way to go about reducing my accent in Thai? I'm probably at a (lower?) intermediate level and think it's better to do sooner rather than later.. before the way I speak is more set in stone
Practice speaking and reading and writing. Writing will especially help you recognize the different tones between words. Good luck!
Sorry, I should've first asked how your writing is now. I'm kinda new around these parts.
I'm okay at recognising the tones / reading / writing. I'm more wondering how to sound more like a Thai when I speak (in terms of pronunciation and accent) rather than a foreigner.
Have someone who knows what to listen to have you do a quick presentation - just introducing yourself or something. First question they can focus on (native thai speaker) - 'What is it about this presentation that makes it sound 'not Thai' to you? It could be accent, it could be selection of words etc. The first reaction will probably be 'Oh, it's ok, we understand, you're just Farang, so you'll speak like that'. Don't take that as an answer. Find someone that can and will help you and not give you that answer. Then hone in on words - your vowels, your consonants, the flow of words etc. With the right coaching and drilling, your whole accent can turn around in the space of a few days.
Then - once you've done that and you think you're getting there, have a Thai person record some sentences in Thai - save it as an MP3. As you drill your accent, record yourself as well and save them side by side and listen to the difference. When you think you're getting close, ask a Thai to listen to them and tell you where in Thailand he / she thinks each of the speakers come from.
wow, thanks Stu! That helps a lot. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for
This fine tuning is invaluable - I recommend it being done from the early stages. People shouldn't wait until bad habits have already formed.
I've been thinking about that lately, actually. Which is what brought me to this question. The same thing also goes with word choice / grammar / the way you express things etc. For example from listening to conversations between native Thais, I can hear how differently they speak to how I do - the way they'd choose to say something. No books / courses / information I've seen really teach how to bridge the gap between what I'd guess you can call "foreigner-speak" and more native level speaking. I've been a little worried about cementing bad habits in speaking. But at the same time I still need to converse / communicate with people.
Right. We were talking about this in a thread the other day. Where is the line for developers of Thai language learning material between realistic dialogues and what Thais perceive as 'grammatically correct' but stilted dialogues that aren't really resemblant of the way language is really used in day to day conversations. I would say learn all from the beginning - let the differences become memory pegs. As an example, I put a clip up on saying 'WHY' like a Thai (rather than a Farang) http://youtu.be/xocCkRyoyes . I want to make a push to develop an early vocab that is much more like what people would really use, while still looking at the 'official' way to say the same things.